Dale Coyne Racing has announced today that Santino Ferrucci will remain with the team for the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series and will be taking the place of Sebastien Bourdais in the #18 Honda with the support of Jimmy Vasser and James Sullivan.
It was announced just over a month ago that Ferrucci’s #19 car would be driven by Alex Palou in 2020 and that Sebastien Bourdais would not be returning to drive the #18 car. For the following few weeks, speculation continued as to whether or not Ferrucci would be returning to the team despite his previous seat having been taken.
Today’s news, however, confirms that Ferrucci will not only remain with the team, but he will step up into the team’s primary entry, the #18 car, that will continue to be sponsored by SealMaster Pavement Products.
In today’s announcement, the twenty-one-year-old American stated that he was “honoured” to have been given another shot by Dale Coyne Racing and that he was “excited” to get going.
“I’m extremely honoured that Dale, Jimmy, and Sulli have put their faith in me to carry this program forward,” Ferrucci said. “The SealMaster car has had a lot of success in the past two seasons. I’m eager to move into the No.18 car and get spring training started. I also want to say a big thank you to SealMaster for believing in me, and I’m beyond excited to represent them on the biggest stage.”
Ferrucci made his IndyCar debut with Dale Coyne Racing back in 2018 during a controversial spell of his racing career. He made his debut at the Duel in Detroit mid-way through his campaign with Trident in Formula 2, with both races of his debut weekend not going entirely to plan despite having shown decent pace.
A few weeks later, Ferrucci would find himself fired from his Formula 2 team and on the receiving end of a multi-race ban due to a slew of on and off-track incidents during the British Grand Prix weekend at Silverstone. Trident would cite Ferrucci’s missing funding as well as his conduct towards his team-mate, Arjun Maini, as reasons for his contract being terminated.
With Formula 2 now behind him, Ferrucci would elect to set his sights back on IndyCar. He would return to the cockpit of the #19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda for the final two races of the 2018 season, before being picked up for a full season with the team for 2019.
Throughout 2019, Ferrucci began to make a name for himself in IndyCar. He would show a real talent for oval racing despite having had no prior experience and would go on to take three fourth-place finishes during the season at Texas Motor Speedway, Pocono Raceway and Gateway Motorsports Park; with Ferrucci spending much of the latter two races in contention for the victory.
Ferrucci would also earn himself recognition for completing the third-highest number of laps of all the drivers on the grid during the season, but his performances on road course and street circuits were usually not at the same level as his performances on the ovals. He would finish in the top ten on only three occasions in the twelve races that did not take place on an oval. As a result, he would not find himself in contention for rookie of the year honours.
In today’s announcement, Dale Coyne himself stated that he was happy to have Ferrucci back after his “absolutely stellar” performances on ovals last year and that he was looking forward to helping Ferrucci build on his potential in the coming months.
“We’re very happy to have Santino back with us for the 2020 season,” said Coyne. “He had a very good rookie season, and he was absolutely stellar on the ovals. We look forward to him building on that this year.
“I think he surprised a lot of people in 2019, and he has the potential to do even better in his sophomore year as he now moves to the No. 18 car.
Ferrucci’s first test in the #18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda will come at pre-season testing at the Circuit of the Americas on February 11-12. The 2020 NTT IndyCar Series itself will kick-off with the season-opening Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on Sunday, March 15.